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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 10, 1961

REPORT FROM THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY ON ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS OF ETHNIC KOREANS FROM LIAONING

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation

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    The Ministry of Public Security briefs Premier Zhou Enla, Deng Xiaoping, and Peng Zhen on the increase of ethnic Korean residents illegally crossing the border into North Korea.
    "Report from the Ministry of Public Security on Illegal Border Crossings of Ethnic Koreans from Liaoning," May 10, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC Foreign Ministry Archives, No. 118-01026-03. P69-70. Obtained for NKIDP by Shen Zhihua and translated for NKIDP by Jeffrey Wang. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115323
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Public [Security Serial] (61) 21

[To] Premier [Zhou Enlai] and Comrades [Deng] Xiaoping and Peng Zhen:

On the night of 9 May [1961], the Public Security Department of Liaoning Province reported by telegram that since [the beginning of] this year, there has been an increase of ethnic Korean residents crossing the border through Gulouzi, Hushan, the suburbs of Jiulian City, Langtao, and Anning in Andong [Dandong] to [North] Korea. The illegal crossings have developed from individuals and single households crossing secretly at night to groups attempting to forcibly cross the border during the day. According to incomplete statistics, between January and April we have found 240 households and 1,471 people attempting to cross the border; of these, 715 people made it across the border to [North] Korea, but the rest were stopped. This trend has continued into May, and, as of 8 May, 350 people have been stopped [crossing the border]. On the night of 8 May and on the morning of 9 May, we discovered two groups of fifty people at Jiulian City, thirty of them armed with wooden clubs and iron cudgels. Most of the people crossing the border are peasants; there are, however, also small numbers of the five social elements and smugglers. These people are from Andong, Anshan, Fushun, Benxi, and Luda [Lüshun-Dalian]. It has been said that there are also people from Jilin, Heilongjiang, Beijing and Tianjin. Recently, we have also found people from Anshan, Shenyang, and the surrounding areas who are actively preparing to go to [North] Korea. There are also 1,843 ethnic Korean households in Andong which are preparing to move to [North] Korea, and, of these, 153 households have already sold all of their property and have attempted to illegally cross the border.

The Public Security Department in Liaoning Province believes that the present increase in border crossings among ethnic Koreans is due to the following:

An inadequate understanding of the temporary difficulties [in China], improper living arrangements, and the habit among ethnic Koreans to move around.
[Ideological] education for ethnic Korean residents has not been kept up.
The [North] Korean government has not returned border crossers as stipulated by the Sino-Korean Border Defense Agreement. [Furthermore,] individuals who have already crossed the border are influencing those who that have not by writing letters. The [North] Korean government has even established reception centers along border crossing routes; while single Han [Chinese] men have been returned in a timely manner, whole families that crossed the border were settled on agricultural communes. Every laborer was given 40 yuan as a settling-in allowance and a fixed amount of grain. These measures have had a great effect upon the Korean minority in China.
Bad elements have been instigating [border crossings].

The Liaoning Public Security Office proposed five measures [to resolve] this issue:

Under unified leadership at all Party committees, begin making living arrangements, strengthen [ideological] education, and calm the morale [of ethnic Koreans].
Strengthen interception work [at the border].
Monitor the activities of bad elements through investigations and studies; first resolve internal contradictions among the people, and then resolve the contradictions between us and the enemy.
For those that were intercepted while crossing the border, make proper living arrangements, offer financial assistance to return home, and fix any problems they have in production or their livelihood.
In accordance with the stipulations of the Sino-Korean Border Defense Agreement, open negotiations with the [North] Korean side to immediately settle the issue of returning residents who have crossed the border. According to reports of the Liaoning Public Security Department, border defense representatives from Andong traveled to Shineuiju [Sinuiju] twice in early March and late April to discuss the return of border crossers with the [North] Korean side. The [North] Korean side’s response was that “these people are currently receiving [ideological] education, but the Chinese side’s opinion will be reported to [North Korean] superiors.”

We have already [instructed] the Liaoning Provincial Public Security Department to actively work on stabilizing people’s lives and strengthening [ideological] education work under the instruction of the Party Committee. [We are] still awaiting instructions on negotiations with the [North] Koreans. We are presently studying the matter with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The above is a briefing.

Ministry of Public Security Party Committee

10 May 1961